For over 25 years, I’ve been involved in numerous startup businesses. My involvement in startups has typically occurred while I held down a full time “pay-the-bills” job, so multitasking and productivity have always been of keen interest to me.
I’m also a longtime fan of Sam Altman, President of Y Combinator, and have been a subscriber to his blog for many years. Altman is a business and startup expert. So, when I saw Sam Altman’s recent article on productivity, I was all ears (well ear – one of mine doesn’t work anymore).
Sam’s article was a perfect fit.
“Compound growth gets discussed as a financial concept, but it works in careers as well, and it is magic. A small productivity gain, compounded over 50 years, is worth a lot. So it’s worth figuring out how to optimize productivity. If you get 10% more done and 1% better every day compared to someone else, the compounded difference is massive.” – Sam Altman
What impresses me about Sam Altman’s productivity article is his tips are different than everyone else’s I’ve come across.
Oftentimes, when Googling productivity tips and reviewing about five to seven links to tips from various authors, the authors quickly begin to repeat themselves and there is nothing distinctly different about them.
However, Altman’s productivity tips are unique. They are backed by experience and directly actionable. They include serious tips such as:
“Picking the right thing to work on is the most important element of productivity.”
Or, duh – “…to leave enough time in my schedule to think about what to work on.” If you don’t take the time to organize what you need to get done, your productivity will be toast.
Sam’s system has three key pillars:
Pillar 1: ‘Make sure to get the important shit done.’
Pillar 2: ‘Don’t waste time on stupid shit,’ and
Pillar 3: ‘Make a lot of lists.’
These 3 Key Pillars sum up productivity for me!
Right now, Sam’s second pillar is where I need to focus the most effort in my business.
Sam also writes: “I’ve been very fortunate to find work I like so much I’d do it for free, which makes it easy to be really productive.” This is a new twist on the old saying – the one that says if you find something you love doing, you’ll never work another day in your life. I know people like that – and wow! are they ever positive, fun people, to be around. I’ll bet Sam is, too!
What productivity pillar do you need to focus on in your business? Please share your comments below.
His recommendations are further broken down into:
- What you work on
- Physical factors
- Other stuff.
Sam further breaks down the third bullet point above, the one about Physical factors. He writes in detail about getting enough restful sleep, exercising and quiet time, and finally about nutrition and how all these factors play an important part in getting your mind and body fine-tuned for optimum productivity and focus.
Sam also admits that he’s afflicted by what many of us can relate to, which is an inability to say “no”.
Many of us suffer from this because we want to share our knowledge, our expertise, and our experiences to help others along their journey.
Let’s face it, it’s a productivity killer – especially in those times you said, “Oh sure I can do that” and people end up contacting you way too frequently for additional help beyond the original “yes.” This then becomes an interruption to whatever productivity process you have in place for your own to-do’s – and before you know it, you’re behind, frustrated, and stressed.
That’s just a taste of the wisdom in Sam’s article. His content is entertaining, informative, and fun to read.
You owe it to yourself to read Sam’s piece and follow his productivity tips to the tee. You can find his article here: Productivity Tips from the Keyboard of Sam Altman.
My productivity tip for you is to highlight and either bookmark or print Sam’s productivity tips and refer to them often.
Now over to you! Let us know below which of Sam’s tips jumpstarted your path to improved productivity. We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
About the Authors:
JR & Liz are partners in Concerto Marketplace, a company which helps small and medium businesses saving money by combining their spend to get volume discount pricing on over 70 products and services with the objective of assisting them to increase their profits. JR is a CPA and has over 35 years of business management, financial management, and entrepreneurship experience. He can be reached at [email protected] Liz is an operational and customer service professional that has helped startups through Fortune500 companies be successful in implementing their core business strategies. Liz can be reached at [email protected]